Big 10 Expansion Scenarios and USF - Introduction

Joe Paterno is prepared to console the losers in the Big 10 expansion sweepstakes. via messengerpuppet.com

Have you been living under a rock for the last few months? No? Well, then you know all about the Big 10's insatiable desire to expand and get a piece of the conference championship action, at the very least. What no one knows is how many teams they want to add, and which ones they will reach out to.

While we all thought expansion was something far down the road at first, objects in mirror are closer than they appear. You may have already seen the Chicago Tribune article from Sunday about the sudden urgency to get something done in time for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. Depending on what the Big 10 finally decides to do (and, by extension, whether Notre Dame finally gives up the ghost and joins a football conference), the impact on USF from a potential chain reaction could be positive, minimal, or downright catastrophic.

We avoided writing about expansion for as long as we did because the thought of our beloved alma mater getting shafted gave all of us a bad case of The Fear. But now, with the BIG EAST as we know it possibly ceasing to exist except as a basketball-only league, some of the league's football-member bloggers have started doing one of three things:

1. Not sweating it at all.

2. Getting excited about the potential to join the Big 10, or whatever it will be called with extra members. Some are even creating meters named after a strange queso-like product that is advertised ad nauseum on the league's TV network.

3. Asking and/or worrying about what will happen to them.

USF definitely falls into category #3. So to help Bulls fans with the fear of the great unknown, we've decided to take each expansion scenario step-by-step and talk about what it could mean for, as Al Keck would say, THESOUTHFLORIDABULLS. Starting tonight, we'll go through the four scenarios that might unfold, beginning with the least drastic move and moving up to the truly chaotic scenario.

The first scenario will be posted this evening. And one last note - while I'm the one writing these scenarios, all three of us agree on just about everything that we'll say about expansion.

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